Manic Street Preachers

Manic Street Preachers: Wembley Arena, London

It's the longest running joke
In history
To kill the working classes
In the name of liberty

This trio of working class heroes are from killed off, if anything, the Cardiff outfit are as assured as death and taxes. They brought their outsider pop music to Wembley Arena last Friday and we were there to check it out.

This gig was consistently good, and occasionally special. The truly magical moments emerged when The Anchoress joined them on stage. Head to toe in leopard print, shades and deep red hair, she outdone Nicky Wire (until his pins got a stunning airing).

Having to don the roles of Nina Persson and Traci Lords is a feat most would cower from. So, to strut on stage and take ownership of these songs was incredible. The performance of 'Little Baby Nothing' was Julliette Lewis (Natural Born Killers) and Uma Therman (Pulp Fiction) rolled into one. The cuteness of the delivery of 'if I'm starving, you can feed me lollipops' switching to the immortal rock n roll goddess on the chorus (You are pure, you are snow  / We are the useless sluts that they mould / Rock 'n' roll is our epiphany / Culture, alienation, boredom and despair) is something that will live forever!

Then came 'Dylan and Caitlin', her duet from the new album 'Resistance is Futile'. A lesson to any aspiring artist, lyrical discourse can matter in pop music. It doesn’t have to be just love, loss and escape as this Chris Farlowe meets Phil Spector song proves.

It's well documented they struggled with their latest recording. On this kind of form, we can only hope they enjoy being Camus' 'Rebel' for a long time yet.

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Manic Street Preachers - Dylan & Caitlin

Just what is there to say about the Manics anymore, oh we know, they're still fucking great, especially at duets!

It’s an imagined conversation between poet Dylan Thomas and writer Caitlin McNamara (parts sung by The Anchoress) during the booze sodden marriage. Musically, it harps back to a glorious age of 60s pop music. The opening has more than a nod to Chris Farlowe’s ‘Out of Time’ and closing moments are drenched in the warmth of Phil Spector’s wall of sound.

The conversation though, is not quite so heart-warming. The hopelessness and desperation of love so volatile is a brutal listen, especially when Caitlin pleads “Dylan don’t leave me behind / Love has divided and died / Beauty still shines in your eyes / America, corrupts your mind”. The emptiness will fell the coldest of hearts, but, with the production, Bradfield’s sol and especially his vocal, there is a sense of hope to cling to.

As Bradfield and The Anchoress unite on the chorus, the line “I never meant to believe in you”, you can’t help but feel the world wasn’t supposed to believe in the Manics. Thank god the world did.

Check the track out on Spotify here:

Image Source - Alex Lake: